Faith and Religion · Growth · Perspective

Dropping The Reins

I don’t know what I’m supposed to write anymore. Or even how to write it. I’ve started a dozen posts. I think I keep distracting myself from the truths I need to write because writing changes things and I keep clinging to some semblance of normal and safe. A prostitution in a way. I will sell my gifts to silence in return for a facade of safe. But don’t we all know there is no guarantee of safe? We all bargain for it though, don’t we? With money or time or whatever we’ve got that we think we can either sell off or build up in some universal system of currency. But safe is not for sale.

The truth is, the deal always goes bad eventually and when it does, there’s this mess of life at our ankles and we curse what we wasted on a safety that didn’t pan out and doesn’t exist. The only beautiful thing about this is that when we sink to the floor and start sifting through the wreckage, we get the chance to choose again.

The freedom of living messy is a gift only the broken can know.

But we have such a hard time learning that lesson. We have such a hard time believing that broken is not a problem. We have such a hard time not boxing things up and wiping them clean. We can’t stand to think that a little wildness, a little abandon, a little brokenness may actually be what faith looks like. We want it all worked out, planned out, figured out, and put together.

Life never works like that. Yet, we can’t seem to stop ourselves from trying to make it. We want to manage it. We want to be executive life managers – we want all parts of our life to be manageable and we want to be the ones managing it. And we quickly judge anyone who kind of lets their life run a little rampant around them. They should really get it together, right?

I’ve been falling into that trap. I’m 99% sure that’s why I can’t write. There’s not room for creating anything when I’m preoccupied with managing everything and completely terrified of messing anything up. But the saddest thing about living this way is that I’m going to mess up anyway. Everybody messes up, every day. Even on our best days, we make mistakes. And so, I can either live authentically, faithfully, and make mistakes; or I can live in a box, striving to manage it all, suffocating behind a safe and normal mask, and make mistakes.

I know some semblance of order is pretty necessary when raising kids and running a house and/or just trying to be a fairly independent and responsible adult. But a semblance of order allows a much looser grip and allows so much more. More options. More mess, yes. But more life too. More faith. More freedom.

Here’s the thing about faith – it is messy and wild and it is a defiance of sorts. It is letting go of the reins. It is not called a careful, well-planned act of faith – it’s called a leap. And the messy, wild, broken, defiant living of faith offers us a soul safety. And that is the only safety that really exists.

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But the days are full of temptations to take control, to get it together. It’s exhausting to me. It’s stifling. And it’s faithless. I imagine God is probably offended by how terrified I am of everything but living a faithless life. I get so wrapped up in the world’s consequences that I lose sight of what’s really important. I fear man more than I trust God. I jump through hoops for human approval, acknowledgement, and acceptance when it is fickle and conditional and act as if the supernatural, unconditional love of God is not enough. I’ve bought this lie that fear is corrective. Like feeling fear is divine redirection of some system of celestial control. But it is the opposite. Fear is the enemy’s weapon. I’ve somehow forgotten that God never said “Make this work on your own” or “Well, you screwed up, so you’re own your own here” or “Get it together”. Again, it’s the opposite. God says, he will fight for us, be with us, never abandon us, love us unconditionally, provide for us all we need. It’s not a points system where you have to work your way up to the “grace and mercy level” before God will wrap you in the divine light of his perfect love. And it’s not like God is caught off guard, wringing his hands, wondering how in the world he will help me now that xyz has happened. We get so many false ideas of God and we shape our lives around them.

But I’m trying not to do that now. Now that I see that’s what I’ve been doing in so many circumstances and how fruitless it is.

I’ve always wanted to be a person of great faith, a believer, a hope-bringer. And yet, I get so wrapped up in my own life, trying to manage it and God that I struggle to trust God with my own situations. I say to God “Once everything is working well here, then I can really believe and help others”. It doesn’t work that way! You have to believe always, anyways. You have to hope always, anyways. You have to be willing to walk around messy, dripping with faith and hope and love always, anyways.

Lord, I believe, please help my unbelief.

Mark 9:24

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